Semptember 5, 2015
I did the math a few weeks ago and knew that many events would need to fall into place in order for Holli and I to finish the trail by September 8th.
Holden (Holli’s son) graduates from basic combat training at Fort Sill, OK on the 10th. We have completed 410 miles of the Colorado Trail and 75 miles reamain to Durango. That leaves us with four days and 18.7 miles per day to finish on the 8th, drive six or seven hours to Denver, and then ten or twelve hours to Oklahoma. The math works to complete the trail but everything has to go perfect including the weather.
We walked to the trailhead at Molas Pass yesterday under heavy cloud cover and rain. The rain continued most of the afternoon and night in Silverton.
We had dinner with Brad while doing all of our laundry. The laundromat was located at a campground near the Hungry Moose Bar & Grill so we enjoyed dinner while I ran back and forth moving clothes from the washer to the dryer and back to the restaurant.
The Blair Street Hostel (hikers, bikers, and dogs included) was home for the night and some hikers came down from the pass after us and reported snow and near whiteout conditions above 12,000 feet. The weather wasn’t helping our case for moving on.
Holli finally made the decision to finish our hike at Silverton. I left the decision in her hands and she made the right choice. It would have been a fun challenge to finish in four days but the travel to Oklahoma would not have been fun. Besides, I would not want Holli to miss any time with Holden.
I felt a little sad watching Brad prepare his pack for the final leg of the trip but also knew that I was greatful for making it this far without incident. We met many extraordinary people on and off the trail. I have seen Colorado in a way that relatively few visitors will experience.
Holli has transformed herself from a very green hiker to a competent long distance trekker. She has battled through cold, heat, rain, sleet, hail, lightning, sore feet, blisters, aching knees, dirt, sweat, sunburn, smell, wild animals (fear of), and trail food. She probably has 75 more miles left in her but doing it in four days would have been a challenge.
So for now we will plan to finish the trail next summer. We had also chosen to take the East Collegiate Route between Twin Lakes and Marshall Pass. We can now go back and complete the West Collegiate alternative route which adds 80 miles through the Collegiate Peaks.
We said goodbye to Brad after having lunch with him. Brad was heading back to the trail later today. Rain and thick clouds were still surrounding the peaks over Silverton so he was waiting for the rain to pass before venturing on.
Holli and I took the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to Durango. I chose the outside gondola car and enjoyed the soot from the steam powered engine. The scenery was enjoyable but I missed the trail already.
September 6, 2015
I think we booked the last hotel room available in Durango. Motorcycles were in town for a Labor Day bike rally so hotel rooms were in tight supply. We are now headed back to Denver in a rental car.